The hiding place
Luxury equals scarcity. A little of something soon becomes precious. Nowadays we are particularly short on two important aspects of quality life, namely time and silence. But there exists this unpolished island, in the Middle of Norway, where both are easily found.
To discover the place itself however, would be much more challenging. Fittingly enough the original meaning of this piece of 1.600 million year-old terrain is “hiding place”. Fosen – or as named in the old days - Fólgsn, with all its rocky underwater skerries, can be difficult to reach by sea. From land you would have to use a GPS. The roads leading to the peninsula of Fosen are curvy, sometimes sending your car or bike in a u-turn. It´s almost like Fosen is saying “I´d rather you not find me. I´d rather be untouched. I´d rather stay the way I have for centuries”. But, nothing here is written in stone (except, of course, for some ancient runes with inscriptions from old Vikings dotted around here and there). Fosen would add “but if you have the strength, the lust and the patience to reach over here, I´ll rain gifts of nature, peace and surprises over your head. Some hard, some soft, regardless - you´ll be happy to wrap yourself in me.”
quality thoughts, those again will produce quality inventions.”
Time here does not stand still, but it stretches. It is possible to spend hours just looking at white big clouds slowly drifting over the neon blue sky, or watch that fluffy vanilla coloured cotton grass sway on top of the juicy moss. Or wait, was it the other way around? It does not mater. Fosen will offer slow nature, just like the Italians invented slow food. With less distractions from city-sounds, and endless beeps, plings, swooshes and dings one get the opportunity to just be. Seconds will creep into the blood stream, filling the whole body with extra time to make quality thoughts, those again will produce quality inventions.
People of Fosen have a tradition of providing the life they want for themselves. They build their own houses, they find their own food. Because they have the passion, integrity and extra time to do so. The intense focus that Fosen can give just by being so simple, yet raw, will make you more concentrated about that specific thing you adore to do or perform. And when the enjoyable job is done, you breathe again. Although you never stopped of course, you just notice when you inhale, because there is no other plans on your schedule. That is life deluxe.
Silence soothes. It makes everything clearer. Walk anywhere on Fosen, and you can count on nature to speak the loudest. What you´ll hear is the brisk summer wind giving high-fives to the birch leaves as it passes by. The salty ocean when it splashes onto shore, forever smoothing the white stripes and folds of the black rocks at the end of the world. The deafening silence just before the trees are ripped of its roots by the storms. The cuckoo hidden somewhere up on a pine tree-covered mountain hill. Dripping drops of ice-cold fresh water, like clockwork, from the top of a rock at the end of an underground stream inside a dim cave. The moose eating grass at midnight. The thin cords hanging along the many flagpoles, strumming in and out, forming a choir sounding like mini church bells.
You´ll hear far, you´ll hear deep, you´ll hear yourself.
As an island of extreme contrasts, the winter can be as mean as summer was magnificent. But the angry side of Fosen can be very charming. The days are so black, they border with blue. The Milky Way will compete with Aurora Borealis on who is most glorious. The sneaky sudden ocean fog will completely unannounced come rolling in from the Atlantic, creating a mysterious white world where the seagulls suddenly seem silent. The way a quiet morning unexpectedly can erupt in a thunderstorm, or what it feels like when dancing flakes of white snow eventually will cover the top of
pale-yellow straws by the sea, has made sweet cuts into the souls of Fosen. The contrasts have formed the way people here seem to be ready for almost anything, at any moment. Because you have to be prepared. In the course of 24 hours you might experience the adventure of all four seasons. But each type comes in small quantities. Portioning itself out, little by little. So you can taste it all. Being the crisp cold of autumn, or the balmy beams of summer sun, both were deeply missed when they were not around. Scarcity, remember? But if you are missing a real party, wait for the winds to arrive.
Hufs and puffs from every corner of the island will have no mercy throwing the man on sea, and his boat on land. Fishermen of Fosen knew this, but they found ways to tame the untameable. These people have a certain survivor instinct. If they had to, at the top of a storm, saw down the mast of the sail not to capsize, they did. Anything it took to bring back the cod and the herring, which was needed to foster the regular sized family of ten kids, only decades ago. Fish was their food, their profession, their pride. And it was
right there, just minutes from their garden.
Brave were those men who said “so be it” to the crazy winds and winter waves, and undaunted set to sea. Brave were those women who waved farewell and unshakably turned around to keep everything neat. Today professions and industry on Fosen are a bit more stable. But be not fooled. The men and women of Fosen will still do whatever they have to do to survive.
It´s tattooed in the deepest veins of costal folks to get up and explore. So at one point, regardless of its dreamy state, one will finally, probably, leave Fosen. Although Fosen will never leave you. Demanding and timeless as it is, it might not take long before you have found your way back. It is tempting though, to just stand completely still, pretend to be invisible in the salty air you wish you could drink, and never depart. But like an eager silk scarf, blown up and away with the wind towards the silver lining in the horizon, both you and Fosen would want to be free. Just like the birds, the boats, and the never ending stories.
“I grew up on an island with mountains tall as valleys are deep with endless pinewoods reaching all the way to the sea, making the rest of the world accessible. An island filled with stories of love, loss and brave fishermen who risked their lives at sea to put fish on our table. Many of my family members were all fishermen, and they still are. They were modest, straightforward and unpretentious, and they continue to be so. It has been moments with pure bliss and big losses, and they never stop.
On the island I grew up on you get the true sense of what life is all about. It is intense, honest and vibrant. It provides quality of life. I would know. I am the daughter of a fisherman.”